One Year by Mary McDonough

One Year by Mary McDonough
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (405 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

In a heartfelt story set in a picturesque small town in Virginia, Mary McDonough portrays three generations of women in a modern Irish-American family as they navigate marriage, motherhood, and independence. . .

The Fitzgibbons–especially the women–have long been the backbone of Oliver’s Well, Virginia. Matriarch Mary Bernadette is still striking and tireless at seventy-five, with a generous heart that belies her sometimes sharp tongue. Her husband, Paddy, owns the local landscaping business, daughter Grace is a nun, and son Pat and his wife Megan are successful lawyers. Her grandson, PJ, and his new wife, Alexis, live in a charming cottage behind the main house. Church, family, tradition, and the local historical society–everything Mary Bernadette cherishes is in Oliver’s Well. But below the surface, there are fractures.

Megan sees the strained relationship between her husband and Mary Bernadette, who has never quite recovered from the painful loss of her first-born son. Megan too is torn between gaining her mother-in-law’s approval and living life on her own terms. Alexis loves PJ deeply yet chafes against his grandmother’s influence in their marriage. Then a looming scandal brings unexpected tragedy, compelling the Fitzgibbons to determine the depth of their loyalty, find their strength–and repair the bonds that have held a town, and a family, together for so long.

With warmth and an abundance of insight, Mary McDonough artfully captures the shifting dynamics of family life–and the revelations they may bear just in time.

One Year sets emotions skittering about in all directions.

A family, of intelligent, industrious people ruled by an unbending matriarch in a small town with lots of history, lures the reader. I found myself reading just one more chapter then just one more and on and on, as I empathized with the characters, even the ones I wanted to “tell a few home truths to.”

Mary Bernadette Fitzgibbon, now past seventy, lives in a time warp and seems to have walled off her heart. Her stern, uncompromising influence on her family and the town of Oliver’s Well, where she heads up the Oliver’s Well Historical Association, permeates the story. Her husband Paddy, while not often seen, has a unique strength to be admired.

P. J., Mary Bernadette’s grandson, and his new wife Alexis live in the cottage near the grandparents and P. J. runs the family business. This young couple’s relationship hits some scary spots as they learn how to deal with the domineering matriarch. How I wanted to give that young man a good talking-to about the wedding vow he made in the church.

Grace and Pat, the children of Mary Bernadette and Paddy, deal with their mother in different styles, but each of them is woven into the story in a way that makes them seems so like living, breathing humans who struggle mightily to stay connected to family.

Megan, Pat’s wife, is different. Her quiet, never-give-up strength is like a golden thread running through the story. She relies on “make me an instrument of peace” to find her center when the going gets rough, but she made me laugh once at a stressful time, when she said to herself “I’m going to kill her if she dies.” Her courage inspires.

The Seven Deadly Sins rear their ugly heads and get stomped down from time to time, while Wynston Meadows, a wealth newcomer to Oliver’s Well, proves to be a lot harder to stomp. How he is dealt with creates more than a little anxiety.

William, whom I’ll let you find out about, is like the elephant-in-the-room throughout the unfolding of the story, probably a lesson to be learned here.

Mary McDonough creates a memorable story that is written in a charming style that keeps the reader in the middle of the action.



    I enjoyed this book very much. It made me feel like I was part of this family, much like the waltons does

  2. marsha phipps says:

    I just love this book one year by mary is wonderful cant put it down.i also loved the lessons learned from the mountain.ive read it 4 times.both of these books are awesome.and I give both of them 5 stars.and keep the books your work and love you.god bless you.and thank you for always including the fans.

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